Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
What’s in the box:
2nd Generation Amazon Fire TV Stick
Alexa Voice Remote
2 AAA Batteries
HDMI Extender Cable
With more digital home entertainment streaming boxes hitting store shelves, Amazon put its own streaming box out in the Amazon TV Fire Stick. After Amazon then introduced its personal voice command home assistant in the Amazon Alexa, they updated to their second generation Fire Stick that includes Alexa voice commands as well.
I personally have used a first generation Apple TV device for the past few years along with an Xbox One for Netflix, YouTube videos, etc. Upon booting up the Amazon Fire Stick, I was met with a few perks, yet a few inconveniences at the same time. However, the streaming device may be preferable to some depending on what they primarily subscribe to in the way of streaming services.
Getting the bad out of the way before moving on to the good, one of the first things I noticed was the HDMI cord and the Fire Stick itself were in one package. Whereas my Apple TV is a separate device with a lengthy removable power cord and HDMI cable making for flexibility when positioning the device in your home. With the Fire Stick, you must plug the device’s HDMI jack directly into the TV’s HDMI input jack and then plug an unfortunately short power cable into your power outlet from the Fire Stick. This makes it difficult when the device itself must stay anchored to your TV while you do everything possible to stretch its length to the closest available power outlet without pulling your TV off its stand. An HDMI extender is included with the package, though that too is much too short to be very effective.
Basic apps such as YouTube and Netflix also needed to be downloaded in my experience whereas with other streaming devices I have used came with those apps already installed. And whereas the Apple TV has the luxury of full access to movies available in the iTunes store (a huge library) to buy and rent digitally, the Amazon Fire Stick is confined to whatever is available on the Amazon store, primarily the Amazon Prime exclusives in the subscription package. In my experience, Amazon’s video store tends to have fewer movies and television shows available compared to other libraries such as the Apple store.
Despite these few shortcomings, if you do happen to be an Amazon Prime subscriber, then the free Prime exclusive movies and TV shows are a real treat, with the library taking front and center on the device’s home screen. The initial set up of the device is also quick and painless, with a few easy steps that take no time due to the Fire Stick’s simple setup interface. The Fire Stick also comes with free live TV if you have a cable subscription to NBC, HBO, Fox, ESPN, or Disney, with the addition of Sling TV also available. You also have the option of subscribing to Amazon’s own condensed 20+ channel cable program, contract-free with no long term commitments. So if you like it, keep it. If not, dump it and go back to streaming services only.
And then there’s the Alexa voice command tool itself which makes navigation quick since you don’t have to type in letter by letter a long movie or TV title with the clickable directional wheel. Furthermore the Alexa tool can also give you a quick rundown of the weather (in case you’ve been binge-watching for days and haven’t bothered to go outside) as well as a free library of Prime music for Prime subscribers that numbers over one million songs. The device itself is also aesthetically pleasing since you don’t actually see it, especially if you have it plugged into an HDMI port in the back of your TV, the only visible section possibly being the slim power cable itself. The somewhat bulky remote has no problem making contact with the device through the television set.
Overall, as a customer that really enjoys the great exclusives the Amazon Prime streaming library has to offer in both movies and TV, I have come to prefer the Amazon Fire Stick over my old Apple TV I used before. While there are a few appearance setbacks and functionality grievances I faced, the Amazon TV Fire Stick is a great device for those looking for a more interactive and responsive streaming box that you can hide away in your living room and still receive all the benefits of cutting the cable cord.
What do you think of the Fire Stick? Let us know!
– Josh Price
Follow me on Twitter @JoshPriceWrites